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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
8.7.16
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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
EU: European Parliament: thumbs up for beefing up Frontex

On Wednesday 6 July the European Parliament approved a proposal to turn the EU border agency Frontex into a 'European Border and Coast Guard Agency', with new powers that have been heavily criticised by some of the Parliament's political groups as well as civil society organisations. The new agency is expected to start operations in the autumn.

The text of the new Regulation - which was agreed in secret trilogue meetings between Council, Parliament and Commission negotiators before being voted on by the full Parliament - was adopted with 483 votes in favour, 181 votes against and 48 abstentions.

UNHCR: Arrivals in Greece, July 2016

216 people have crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean to arrive in Greece so far in July, according to the UNHCR's figures, an average of 31 per day. During June an average of 50 people per day arrived. See: Greece data snapshot - 7 July 2016 (pdf)

See also: UNHCR Weekly Report: Europe (6 July, pdf) covering: Trends of sea arrivals - Situation in Greece - Situation at Serbia-Hungary border - Italian navy recovers ship in which up to 800 thought to have drowned - Update on relocations and returns - EU Developments

NATO to expand role in Mediterranean migration operations?

"Turning to the Middle East, the Secretary General said Alliance leaders will this week approve the deployment of NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter ISIL. He also said he expected NATO to agree on a new training and capacity building effort in Iraq and a role for NATO in the Central Mediterranean to complement the European Union’s Operation Sophia" (emphasis added). See: NATO Secretary General outlines Warsaw Summit agenda (NATO, link)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also noted during a press conference (link) that NATO expects to "build on our effective cooperation in the Aegean to cut lines of human trafficking."

EU: Law enforcement efforts against "migrant smuggling" stepped up with new international bureau in Vienna

"On 4 May 2016, the Austrian Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka opened the “Joint Operational Office against Human Smuggling Networks” (JOO) in Vienna. In a statement, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that the institution was an “international investigative bureau against human smuggling”. The centre has an initial complement of 38 staff members, Europol intends to second additional personnel. It is intended to be a point of contact for investigations of authorities also from the migrants’ countries of origin."

See: International investigative bureau in Vienna to combat “migrant smuggling” (Matthias Monroy, link)

News (8.7.16)

German states demand billions of euros to cover refugee costs (Deutsche Welle, link): "Germany's 16 states are demanding an additional 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion) over the next three years from the federal government in Berlin to cover the cost burden of integrating refugees, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported on Wednesday.

Horst Seehofer, the premier of the state of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told the Munich-based newspaper that all 16 states were united on the 8 billion euro figure ahead of a government summit to discuss the issue at the Chancellery on Thursday.

The additional sum would be distributed in three lump sum payments of 1.5 billion euros this year, 2.5 billion euros next year and 4 billion euros in 2018."

Hungary to hold referendum on refugee quotas on 2 October (EurActiv, link): "Hungary will hold a referendum on 2 October on EU plans to relocate migrants among member states, a scheme fiercely opposed by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the president said today (5 July).

“As president of the republic, I decree that the referendum will be held on 2 October,” President János Áder said in a statement."

Italy extracts 217 bodies from hull of sunken migrant ship (Al Arabiya, link): "Italian navy officials say they have recovered 217 bodies from the hull of a migrant ship that sank off Libya last year in a tragedy that sparked the EU to beef up Mediterranean rescue operations.

Italian authorities raised the ship from the seabed last week and have been working to remove and identify the bodies ever since. In a statement Thursday, the navy said 52 autopsies had been performed on the 217 bodies pulled out so far.

Some of the 28 survivors of the April 18, 2015 wreck had said as many as 700-800 people were aboard, leading officials to label it one of the worst known tragedies of the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

Around 200 bodies were initially recovered; after officials saw the ship’s dimensions, they suggested about 300 remained."

Italy migrants: Nigerian killed in Fermo race attack (BBC News, link): "A man has been arrested by Italian police investigating the killing of a Nigerian immigrant which the government has condemned as a racist attack.

Police say a row broke out at Fermo, a town on Italy's east coast, when racist abuse was hurled at the partner of Emmanuel Chidi Namdi, 36.

The violence escalated when a traffic pole was pulled from the ground. The victim later died in hospital.

A local man described as a well-known "ultra" football fan is being held."

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